Getting a calibration profile
Whenever I get a new monitor, I go to either of FlatpanelsHD or TFT Central and use their calibration profile for my monitor. Sometimes, the US overview hasn’t been updated, so check out the Danish Flatpanels site, if your monitor isn’t there.
And of course make sure you have the right HDMI cable, and that input source supports the resolution and features you want.
You should also check out Darko’s YouTube channel for some monitor-specific tips. You don’t necessarily need to find your specific model, as long as it’s in the ballpark; the main advantage is to see the vendor-specific settings you have to adjust.
One of these settings is HDMI RGB range[^rgb range], which makes a big difference for videogames that will otherwise be too dark for you to view. Set it to Normal or Limited on both consoles and TV sets. The PS4 says to set it to “Automatic” if your TV has issues with proper settings. Your colours should be vivid, and you should be able to navigate dark rooms (unless the game intends it to be pitch black, which is rare).
You may want to turn on Game Mode somewhere in the menu settings of your TV to lower input lag. To make matters more complicated, Game Mode sometimes prevents you from turning on HDR, so make sure to do the research for your monitor, if you plan on using it for videogames. What Game Mode usually does is turn off dumb default features that your calibration profile will probably have told you to turn off in the first place.
On top of this, some monitors require you to manually fidget with your backlight setting for an optimal HDR experience, which is as much of a pain as it sounds.
You may see an improved image quality with Game Mode turned off, but if your TV is calibrated with many useless default features turned off already, the difference could be minimal.
Of course, one of the problems here is that a videogame console like the PS4 can be used for both videogames and movies, and TV, which is also why I managed to forget about the HDMI RGB range setting that made my videogames borderline unplayable until I noticed the pitch-black darkness in some games and asked around about it.
If you have the opportunity, watch TV and movies on a separate device (AV channel) so you won’t have to change your profile on the fly every time. You’ll probably want to watch things like Netflix and YouTube through your Smart TV instead of your PS4 in the first place, since your Smart TV should have 4K and HDR apps for them in the first place. This just leaves you with services like Amazon Prime, Twitch, and HBO which usually aren’t available as apps for most TV OSes out there. In that case, you may just have to rely on your videogame console and remember to switch RGB Range and Game Mode between movies and games.
Don’t forget to check your PS4 settings under Video Output Settings:
- TV Size
- RGB Range
- Deep Color Output
Read Flatpanels’ PS4 HDR guide for instructions.
Try to think of some media that might test the extremes of of visuals.
- The Fall is one of the most gorgeous movies ever made.
- The Last of Us will show you if your RGB range is right.
- Daredevil season one will show you how dark scenes are handled.
You can also try hitting up some 4K (or 1440p) videos on YouTube.
Last but not least
NB: Always keep in mind that your calibration profile is specific to each AV channel. That means that you will have to enter the calibration profile for both your TV channels, Apple TV, PS4, and whatever else is in your setup.
While the time spent on this can be annoying, remember the what a pain it would be if your videogame-specific settings were applied globally.